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Urgent call to secure Pembrokeshire’s village halls

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IN AN ERA marked by evolving community dynamics and changing societal needs, village and community halls across Pembrokeshire have developed into central hubs for an ever-growing variety of activities. In addition to the traditional group meetings, toddler groups and pantomimes, these spaces now foster the growth of small enterprises, facilitate community engagement, and house community businesses, such as post offices, cafes, and libraries.

However, the threat to their continued success lies in the balance as the addition of activities and changes in purpose bring new risks that may invalidate their insurance coverage.

Ansvar, the expert insurers for the charity and not-for-profit sectors, are urging centre committees to verify the adequacy of their existing protective coverage to guarantee the protection of these venues for future use.

There are approximately 10,000 halls across Wales and England that host around 90,000 events and celebrations every year. With 25% of these halls and centres being built before World War I and approximately 600 built to commemorate it, many have been vital community spaces for over 100 years, so the varying usage agreements and quality of provisions and building materials differ considerably across the country. As such, they can face various risks, from accidental damage and fire hazards to potential liability claims.

Adam Tier, Head of Underwriting at Ansvar, emphasises the importance:

“Village and community halls are no longer limited to being mere event venues; they have seamlessly woven themselves into the fabric of everyday life. From hosting yoga classes and farmers’ markets to providing space for personal trainers, art workshops and post offices, these halls have become the lifeblood of community interaction. This evolution has created vibrant ecosystems where entrepreneurs can thrive, neighbours can connect, and shared resources can flourish.

“Indeed, by acting as vaccination centres during the Covid-19 pandemic and, due to the current cost of living crisis, as places families can go to receive emergency food provision, their importance to a community has been reaffirmed. The transformation of village and community halls into multi-purpose hubs is a heartwarming reflection of communities adapting to changing times. However, this also calls for a reassessment of the protective measures in place.”

Due to recent inflationary pressures and the rapid increase in the cost of materials, a significant number of village halls and community centres will now be underinsured. Adam Tier added:

“Being underinsured can have devastating consequences in the event of a large loss or significant damage to these buildings, where policyholders are forced to find the shortfall to reinstate the property. These delays in getting back up and running, or in severe cases back open at all, can leave a big hole in the local community. Therefore, it is imperative that a buildings valuation is regularly updated and contents and other items are frequently inventoried.

“We understand the immense value community halls hold and want to ensure they are protected. Without adequate coverage, these community spaces and the clubs and local businesses they support can face significant financial strain or even closure. Working with a specialist insurer will ensure that the essence of what makes these community spaces thrive is preserved. They will understand the unique challenges community-driven initiatives face and provide tailored coverage to address those needs, ensuring peace of mind for community organisers and members.”

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Entertainment

Save the dates: Classic car shows in Pembrokeshire

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THE FIRST of the Summer season of the Classic Car Shows in aid of the Paul Sartori Foundation took place at the Commons Car Park, Pembroke recently.

Organised by Malcom Powell and friends, the show was opened by the Mayor of Pembroke, Ann Mortenson, accompanied by the Ward Ten Withybush fundraiser Ellie Neville.

The rest of the shows are follows

Wednesday 5th June at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 19th June at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 3rd July at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 17th July at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 14th August at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 18th August at the Plough Inn

All events are at 4pm, except for the final show of the year on Saturday 14th September at the Plough Inn Sageston which starts at 2 30pm.

Pictured is the first show of the year at the Commons,Pembroke.

Pic-Martin Cavaney

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Charity

Royal celebration at Buckingham Palace marks RNLI’s 200th anniversary

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HIS MAJESTY The King has graciously hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace today to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). This prestigious event brought together approximately 2,500 of the RNLI’s dedicated volunteers, staff, and their families.

The garden party, held in the palace’s magnificent grounds, was marked by the presence of an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, showcasing the RNLI’s modern lifesaving capabilities. The event celebrated the remarkable history and ongoing contributions of the RNLI, which has been saving lives at sea since its founding in 1824.

Among those honoured at the event were representatives from Tenby Lifeboat Station and St Davids Lifeboat Station. From Tenby, the delegation included recently retired Coxswain Philip John, along with Michael Lewis, Daniel Young, Graham Waring, and Peter O’Hagan, all accompanied by their partners. Representing St Davids Lifeboat Station were Will Chant, Jestyn Martin, Ffion Rees, Judd Kohler, Ellen Evans, and their respective partners. These individuals were recognised for their exceptional service and dedication to the institution, trading their RNLI yellows for smart attire on this special occasion.

The RNLI, established in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, has grown into a vital organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea. Over its two centuries of operation, the RNLI has saved more than 142,700 lives, thanks to the bravery and commitment of its volunteers and staff. Today, the RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations and provides a 24-hour search and rescue service around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.

His Majesty’s patronage and the garden party at Buckingham Palace underscore the nation’s deep appreciation for the RNLI’s invaluable service. The celebration not only honoured past achievements but also highlighted the continued importance of the RNLI’s mission as it looks forward to the future.

For more information on the RNLI’s history and its bicentenary celebrations, please visit the official RNLI website.

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Community

The Big Beer Festival returns to Milford Waterfront

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MILFORD HAVEN is set to host the highly anticipated Big Beer Festival tomorrow at Milford Waterfront. Beginning at 12:00 PM on May 25, the event promises a vibrant celebration featuring an impressive array of real ales, lagers, and ciders, along with a prosecco and Pimm’s bar for those with different tastes.

Local bands will provide live music throughout the day, ensuring a lively atmosphere. Headline act 4th Street will be among the performers, with additional acts including After the Fire, Steve Bartram, Two Suns, Tin Man Revolution, and DJ Robzy. Food lovers can enjoy diverse culinary offerings from The Junkyard Dog and Marcela Mexican Cuisine at the Thornton Motors Streetfood Zone. Entry is £20, which includes four drink tokens and a limited edition glass. Each token can be exchanged for a half pint, a glass of prosecco, or a glass of Pimm’s. The festival will run until 11:00 PM.

This event is part of the continued partnership between Milford Waterfront and the Milford Haven Round Table. This collaboration supports a calendar of events throughout the year, raising funds for local causes and creating enjoyable experiences for the community and visitors. Upcoming events include the Milford Haven Carnival on July 6 and the Fireworks Extravaganza on November 5.

As well as local petrol station company The Ascona Group, Howden, a global insurance intermediary group, is a key supporter of the festival. As a deluxe sponsor, Howden is donating £500 towards the event. Gary Stevens, Regional Managing Director, expressed his delight in supporting the Milford Haven Round Table, emphasizing the event’s significance as a fantastic day out for the bank holiday weekend and a means to support the local community.

Milford Haven Round Table, the UK’s largest Round Table with 30 active members, organizes this festival to give back to the local community. All funds raised support local charities, groups, and individuals, including popular free entry events like the town’s annual carnival and fireworks display.

For more details, visit the official event page.

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